Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Weekend treat – A vegetarian curry feast!

Today’s Pieday Friday recipe is a lovely guest post from my blogging pal Lucy. When I saw her mouth-watering curry recipes on her blog LucyLovesYa, I emailed to ask her permission to share these delicious dishes with you today. And thankfully she said yes! These vegetarian dishes are packed full of freshness and flavour – and it costs a lot less to make your own ‘takeaway’ at home than it does to go out for a meal! Lucy says add as many chillies as you like until you get the right level of hotness for you, and don’t forget to cool things down with coriander,  lemons and natural yoghurt mixed with some chopped mint. I never knew how to make an onion bhaji until I read Lucy’s recipe so I hope you’ll enjoy making some of these simple recipes at home too! Vegetarian-Curry-Onion Bhaji Ingredients: 2 large onions, 1 mug gram flour (chickpea flour), salt to taste, 1 egg, handful coriander leaves, pinch chilli powder, 1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon paprikaMix the ingredients together until a smooth consistency is formed. Don’t feel tempted to add water as the onions will provide a natural liquid if allowed to stand for an hour before frying. Ladle individual bhajis into a frying pan of hot oil. When they are golden brown, remove and serve with a squeeze of lemon all over and a dash of natural yoghurt.Veg-Curry-Recipe1

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Pieday Friday – Homemade + healthy sweet ‘n’ sour coleslaw recipe

I’m getting ready for BBQ season with this week’s Pieday Friday recipe. Yes, I’m making homemade coleslaw, which we all know is the best type of coleslaw in the world. Sure, you can spend ££s on luxury coleslaw if you really want to, but nothing beats the fresh, zesty crunch of a homemade ‘slaw. Use it to funk up salads, to dollop on top of your burger, to serve as a BBQ side dish, or to mix with cheese as a crunchy sandwich filling. However you use it up, the freshness of a homemade coleslaw will have you going back to the fridge again and again to help yourself to another spoonful with your lunch. Here’s how I made an ultra-fresh and zingy coleslaw: homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-19 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-3homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-15 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-13Ingredients (serves 4 plus a small tub of leftovers to keep in the fridge!): 1/4 of a white cabbage, 4 peeled carrots, 1 white onion, 1 red onion, 1 zingy green apple and 1 sweet red apple, cored and quartered, a dash of lemon juice, 250ml non-fat natural yoghurt, 2 tablespoon course mustard, 100ml picked gherkin juice (or white vinegar), salt and pepper.

Use a food processor with a thin slicing blade to finely slice up the cabbage and both onions.

Change to the grater blade and add the carrots, and both apples.

Toss the ingredients together with a splash of lemon juice to stop the apples from going brown.

Dollop in the yoghurt and mustard and give the coleslaw a stir.

Drizzle in the picked gherkin juice (which is both sweet and vinegary), mix again and season to taste.

Store in a sealed tub in the fridge and serve up alongside your BBQ burger this summer! This was the first time I’d tried using a food processor (this one is a Panasonic MK-F800) and it made the process of making the coleslaw fantastically fast. Plus, the fine slicing blade got the onions and cabbage so wafter-thin – something I’ve never been able to achieve with a knife. homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-18 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-15 While I had the food processor on the go, I also whizzed some potatoes through the julienne blade (with skins still on) to rustle up the quickest batch of chips I’ve ever made. Just a spritz of fry-light before oven baking was all the potatoes needed to turn them into crisp homemade (and healthy!) chips.homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-13 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-20Considering I’d never used a food processor before, I got to grips with the Panasonic processor really quickly. It wasn’t long before I was looking for more vegetables to chop up or slice. While I was at it, I finely sliced up all the rest of the white cabbage so that I could freeze it in portions. I find that cabbage is one of those vegetables that I really like but that I hardly ever eat because you never use a whole one at once (not between the two of us anyway!) so I always end up with a limp half-cabbage that I forget about and find a month later slowing wilting at the back of the salad drawer. At least this way there was no wastage and I’ve got the right size portions in my freezer, ready to eat with bangers and mash.homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-19 homemade summer coleslaw panasonic food processor bbq dish-3Let me know if you have a go at making this recipe and tell me how you would funk up your coleslaw in other ways – would you add cheese, zesty orange segments or sliced gherkins?? What’s your signature homemade coleslaw recipe that your BBQ guests cant get enough of? Also, it would be great to hear your ideas about what other things I can use my food processor for, so please do get in touch to tell me how you use your applicances. Leave me a comment below or tweet me @cassiefairy.


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Pieday Friday – Chocolate chip cookie cups

What better way to serve ice-cream and chocolate sauce than in freshly baked cookie cups, eh? I don’t know where I conjured up this idea from in my mind but when my family recently popped round for an impromptu meal, the cookie cups were something I really wanted to try out. I knew I had ice-cream in the freezer but wanted to serve it in a more exciting way than just in a bowl with some sprinkles. So I dug out my trusty chocolate chip cookie recipe (eggless, which is great for allergy sufferers) and set to work creating some yummy ‘bowls’ in which to serve my vanilla ice cream.pieday friday baking recipe cookie cups pudding dessert chocolate chip-13 pieday friday baking recipe cookie cups pudding dessert chocolate chip-11 pieday friday baking recipe cookie cups pudding dessert chocolate chip-12Ingredients (makes 4 large cookie cups or 12 small cookies): 175g plain flour, 75g butter, 50g light brown sugar, 150g chocolate chips, 3 tablespoons golden syrup, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1 pinch of salt. Oven pre-heated to 190 degrees.pieday friday baking recipe cookie cups pudding dessert chocolate chipStep 1 – Mix the flour and butter with your fingertips to create a breadcrumb-like texture. Mix in a pinch of salt along the bicarb and baking powder.pieday friday baking recipe cookie cups pudding dessert chocolate chip-2Step 2 – Pour in the chocolate, sugar and golden syrup.pieday friday baking recipe cookie cups pudding dessert chocolate chip-3

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Pieday Friday – Ultimate KFC (Korean Fried Chicken)

Today’s recipe is an extract from the fantastic new cookbook Korean Food Made Simple by Judy Joo. The traditional recipe for Yangnyum Chicken is the Korean version of good ol’ KFC so I thought it would be fun to share this recipe with you today while I’m away on my half-term holidays. What a fun ‘takeaway’ recipe to try out this weekend! Here’s Judy’s recipe:KMFS Ultimate KFC p167I have always loved fried chicken. But even though I grew up eating it in America, for me, ‘KFC’ stands for Korean fried chicken. There are many different versions, but what they all have in common is a very thin, hard crisp coating, which comes from using cornflour instead of flour, as well as double frying. My take on the dish, which includes vodka and matzo meal, is a little unorthodox and has a fair number of ingredients, but I call it ‘ultimate’ for a reason. Two things make it even better: its customary accompaniment of Cubed Pickled Radish and ice-cold beer.

Recipe serves 4

Coating: 30 g (1 oz) cornflour, 2½ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp baking powder, Freshly ground black pepper, 2 chicken drumsticks, 2 thighs and 4 wings (with tips), Vegetable oil, for frying

BBQ Sauce: 3 tbsp Korean chilli paste (gochujang), 3 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger, 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped

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Pieday Friday – Minted pea pasta with chargrilled chicken

We’re all hoping for a sunny bank holiday weekend right? And what better way to spend the long lazy weekend than with a spot of al fresco dining, eh? I’ve got the ideal recipe for you to try out this weekend; it’s really fast, super-easy and uses just a handful of ingredients that you’ve probably already got at home. Whether you fresh fancy a change from your usual heavy Saturday night takeaway or you’ve got the family round for a light Sunday lunch, this recipe is a great healthy choice for any meal.minted pea pasta recipe with grilled chicken breast al fresco meal dinner-23 minted pea pasta recipe with grilled chicken breast al fresco meal dinner-25With fresh vegetables, light protein in the form of skinless chicken breast and low-fat wholewheat dried pasta, this recipe will quickly become your ‘go-to’ dish for weekday dinners. Let’s face it, you’ll probably always have a stock of these ingredients in your cupboard and freezer so can fall back on it time and again. I find it so reassuring to have a quick and healthy dinner available, even when I haven’t had time to get to the supermarket. I’ve always got a bag of Field Fresh peas in my freezer, using a handful here and there to accompany a fish dish or to pop into a shepherd’s pie, so I know that this sauce is only a few minutes away from being stirred through my favourite pasta after a long day at work.minted pea pasta recipe with grilled chicken breast al fresco meal dinner-27 minted pea pasta recipe with grilled chicken breast al fresco meal dinner-31minted pea pasta recipe with grilled chicken breast al fresco meal dinner-26It’s also a great dish for impressing friends during al fresco ‘supper club’ meals. The dish looks like you’ve spent hours preparing it and tastes delicious. It’s light enough to serve in smaller portions as a starter, or you could use the pea puree to drizzle over a fresh salad with parma ham, so keep it in mind for special occasions too. Here’s how to make it yourself… Continue reading “Pieday Friday – Minted pea pasta with chargrilled chicken” »


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Pieday Friday – Gennaro’s recipe for garlic mushroom tagliatelle

I tried out this recipe for the first time this week and – oh my goodness – it’s just too good NOT to share. With two packs of mushrooms in my fridge and packet of pasta in the cupboard I was struggling to come up with idea for my midweek dinner. That is, until I stumbled across Gennaro’s recipe on the Bertolli site. Garlic? Check! Parsley? Check! Vegetable stock? Check! Yes, I had everything I needed to make this meal and I was going to give it a go. Here’s how I got on…gennaro contaldo garlic mushroom tagliatelle recipe-2Having picked up a pack of Bertolli with Butter for the first time ever (it was on offer in Asda last week) I was pleased when I found out that the brand have collaborated with Gennaro Contaldo to create a collection of pasta recipes. My favourite meal in the world is anything containing pasta and my favourite chef of all time is Gennaro. Here’s a photo of me tickling him when we met at Jimmy’s Farm Sausage Festival last year! What a lovely guy – and a seriously talented chef to boot. So of course I was drawn straight to the recipe section on the Bertolli website and wanted to find out which of Gennaro’s delicious Italian recipes I could recreate at home.

Having overloaded on mushrooms during my weekly shop – I’d bought button mushrooms and a punnet of normal mushrooms too – I wanted to use them up while they were still really fresh. Honestly, there’s probably no better way to use up mushrooms than with Gennaro’s tagliatelle recipe with garlic mushrooms. The addition of Bertolli with Butter creates a really silky sauce – it’s buttery and smooth yet has a distinctive taste of olive-oil, resulting in a very Italian-tasting dish. Here’s how to make it:garlic mushroom tagliatelle recipe ingredients bertolli

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Pieday Friday – Pack a picnic + my ‘cheese crunch’ sandwich recipe

It must be the slighter sunnier weather, or perhaps the impending Easter holidays, that has got me thinking about days out, picnics and flasks full of tea. In fact, I went on my first picnic of the year yesterday lunchtime and, after all these dark winter months of eating lunch indoors, it was so lovely to get outside and enjoy a meal in the sunshine. Okay, there was a bit of a brisk wind, but with the sun on my back I really didn’t feel the chill. I was enjoying stuffing my face with sarnies too much to care! picnic inspiration sandwich recipe ideas easter summer spring-15picnic inspiration sandwich recipe ideas easter summer spring ingredientspicnic inspiration sandwich recipe ideas easter summer spring-5Last summer my husband and went on lots of picnics. We didn’t have a holiday away so we took day trips around the local area – never venturing much further than an hour’s drive away – and packed up a cool-bag full of treats for each adventure. I love a sandwich wrapped in foil. I enjoy piercing the top of my carton of drink with a pointy straw. And an apple always seems to taste better when munched outdoors. Coupled with exploring new places (and seeing what fantastic conversation work is going on in British parks, country homes, military museums and along the coast) a picnic is one of my favourite ways to spend a day.

So today’s Pieday Friday blog post is a simple one: I’m sharing my all-time favourite sandwich recipe. It’s based on the sandwiches we used to buy at the start of every journey we took from university to home. There’s a service station where we join the M6 to travel to Suffolk, and we stopped there every time to fill up with fuel and stock up on sandwiches. Ever had a service station ‘cheese crunch’ sandwich? They are THE BEST. Perhaps I love them so much because I associate them with a journey home to see my family. Or perhaps it’s the sheer cheesiness. I can’t decide.

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Pieday Friday – Tea bread, porter cake, Dublin lobster & moonshine syllabub recipes for St. Patrick’s Day

In preparation for St. Patrick’s Day next week on 17th March I’ve been reading through The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm (Roost Books) by Imen McDonnell, who blogs over at The Farmette.ie. With kind permission of the publishers I can share with you some of the delicious Irish recipes from the book with you today. After much deliberation I picked out the Dublin Lawyer lobster recipe, the Moonshine syllabub and a very delicious-looking Chocolate Porter Cake for my Irish-themed Pieday Friday menu. And of course, I couldn’t share recipes from this book without trying the traditional Tea Brack recipe for myself – yum!

Here are the beautiful recipes from The Farmette Cookbook:

IMG The Farmette Cookbook_ p. 49_ Tea Brack_ Roost Books copy

DIVINER’S TEA BRACK

One wet March afternoon, my husband announced that our local water diviner was going to come and help us locate a new well. Up until the moment he arrived, I honestly thought his visit was some kind of madcap prank. I simply couldn’t believe that in the twenty-first century we would be enlisting the services of a person with a willow divining rod to find water on the farm.

But, as I have learned time and time again, many practices of the past are still very much alive in the Irish countryside. When I saw the man hiking in the fields behind our garden, I quickly made up a tea bread to share after he finished his work. We sat around the table sipping tea as I sliced piece after piece of this fruity brack, chatting for nearly an hour, and when the water diviner left, he thanked me for a tea cake as “fine as my mother’s.”

Brack is a cross between cake and bread and is often enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee.

Ingredients (Makes 1 loaf) 200 g mixed dried fruit, 240 ml hot black tea (Barry’s Tea is perfect if you can get it), 130 g flour, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 100 g superfine sugar, 1 large beaten egg, 2 tablespoons orange marmalade

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9-inch loaf pan.
  2. Place the fruit in a small mixing bowl, pour the hot tea over the top, and allow to soak until the fruit swells, about 1 hour.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, egg, and marmalade. Pour in the fruit and any tea left in the bowl; stir thoroughly. Pour into the loaf pan, and bake for 1 hour.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before turning out of the tin. Serve the brack with butter and cups of tea.
  5. Store any leftovers in the bread box, where it will keep for one week.

IMG The Farmette Cookbook_ p. 109_ Dublin Lawyer_ Roost Books copyCLASSIC DUBLIN LAWYER Continue reading “Pieday Friday – Tea bread, porter cake, Dublin lobster & moonshine syllabub recipes for St. Patrick’s Day” »


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Pieday Friday – Mediterranean chicken & bean stew

I wasn’t sure what to call this recipe when I rusted it up for the family earlier this week. As we tucked into our Mediterranean dish – and mopped up the tomato sauce with our homemade garlic bread – some recipe name suggestions were thrown about. We couldn’t decide if it was Spanish, Italian or something else, whether the beans made it a cassoulet, or whether the slow-cooked chicken created a casserole. Can we just call it a surprise stew? In the end, I decided to name it ‘Mediterranean chicken and bean stew’ as that seemed to sum up most of the flavours and ingredients well.mediterranean italian chicken and bean stew recipe cooking slow cooker casserole-2mediterranean italian chicken and bean stew recipe cooking ingredients-2The plan was to create a Mediterranean-inspired recipe and I think the lovely fresh ingredients in this dish create a rather ‘eat-al-fresco-under-the-olive-trees’ result. I’ve use chicken, tomatoes, peppers, olive oil, basil, olives, garlic and beans in this recipe so I was hoping that this combination of flavours would result in something that tasted rather Mediterranean, even if I didn’t quite know what that was when I started to cook! Thankfully, it turned out really well and after a second-helping (some of us even had thirds) we were all really rather stuffed, and very happy. A siesta seemed to be calling us…mediterranean italian chicken and bean stew recipe cooking slow cooker casserole-5italian chicken and bean stew recipe cooking ingredientsIngredients (serves 4): 1 cup of beans (about 300 g – I used red kidney beans, borlotti beans, black-eyed beans, green beans, leftover baked-beans and sweetcorn but you could throw in any other kinds of beans you have in the store-cupboard and even chickpeas or a handful of lentils), 8 chicken thighs, 1 red onion, 300g fresh tomatoes or one tin of chopped tomatoes, 200g button mushrooms, 2 peppers, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 2 cloves of garlic or 1 teaspoon of garlic paste, handful of basil or a tablespoon of mixed dried herbs, olive oil, 1 litre chicken stock, salt and pepper.mediterranean italian chicken and bean stew recipe cooking casserolemediterranean italian chicken and bean stew recipe cooking flavours-2 Continue reading “Pieday Friday – Mediterranean chicken & bean stew” »


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Pieday Friday – Healthy pastry-free quiche

Today’s Pieday Friday recipe is so simple that I can’t believe I’ve not baked it before. Considering that quiche is one of my most-loved dishes of all time, I am astounded that I’ve never tried to create a healthy alternative. When I’m being especially ‘good’ with my food choices, I tend to just eliminate quiche altogether, despite it containing lots of the good stuff; vegetables, eggs, dairy and ham. I realised that the only part of a quiche that I’m trying to avoid while making healthy choices is the pastry, so this week I decided to do something about that!pieday friday recipe pastry-free quiche healthy snack hack lunch dinner-2 pieday friday recipe pastry-free quiche healthy snack hack lunchpieday friday recipe pastry-free quiche healthy snack hack lunch dinner-4I considered using bread as ‘cups’ to fill with my quiche filling but I don’t get on particularly well with bread either (I can eat it but the bloating is no fun afterwards!) and I considered doing away with any kind of case altogether, until I realised that this would just be a tortilla (which I love to eat cold in the summer – here’s my recipe) or an omelette. I wanted something more ‘main meal’ than that! So what else could I use instead of pastry to hold my eggy filling? I opened the fridge (as I always do when looking for inspiration) and I realised that I already had the ideal quiche ‘case’ in my salad drawer. Peppers!pieday friday recipe pastry-free quiche healthy snack hack lunch-4 pieday friday recipe pastry-free quiche healthy snack hack lunch-3I couldn’t actually believe I’d never tried it before. Surely a scooped out pepper would be the ideal vessel to bake my quiche filling in? I’d never roasted peppers whole before so I didn’t know how soft they would go in the time it took for the egg to set; the whole thing could have become a big mushy mess for all I knew. But nonetheless, I wanted to try it out because if it worked I’d be able to continue eating healthily while enjoying one of my favourite treats. Here are the ingredients I used to make 6 portions (one half-pepper per person):pieday friday recipe pastry-free quiche healthy snack hack lunch-2

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